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Friday, 19 March 2010

Making cards while the sun shines

I'm making cards this week. I have orders to complete for Salts Mill and ArtParade, both in Saltaire. I spent most of yesterday in my studio completing the first stage of these orders which involves cutting sections of thick watercolour paper to size and then painting onto them.


These bases will then have other layers of paper stitched on... more on that another time.

I worked for most of the day with the doors open to the garden, which was wonderful. Stepping outside it felt warm in the sun and I even ate my lunch outside. By the time the rain came mid afternoon my washing had dried too!


This range of cards is very much informed by weave, and in particular the samples, above, that I wove recently on my loom, and which were all about playing with colour. They were also part of me getting to grips with weaving on this loom. I've done various weave projects at college but hadn't done any of those for over a year and had only put on one warp myself (with a lot of help). I've had my Granny's loom here since last June but it's been sitting, waiting and, quite frankly, I was scared of it! In January I had a much needed day with Laura Rosenzweig up in Cumbria. This was a kind of revision day and she went over the basics of warping up, also showing me how to warp up front to back, rather than the other way round, which was how I'd been shown at college. This really did the trick for me and I came home and made a warp that evening. Since then I've made three more warps which are all narrow (about 4 inches wide) so that I can practice putting them on the loom and start to play around with colour and texture.

These particular samples have a multi coloured warp and by varying the colours, weight and textural qualities of yarn in the weft I was able to play about with various effects, all just using plain weave. Its also a challenge for me to try and keep my sides straight! Below, I've shown some sketch book work that was influenced by these weave experiments that has resulted in the cards I'm making now.


In designing a range of cards like this there are always the constraints of:

  • needing to be able to reproduce the design a number of times, often in different colour ways;
  • needing to make each card relatively quickly - you can only charge so much for a card so to make it worth it you have to keep things simple (the gallery or shop selling the card on will charge at least twice what the maker is getting for it);
  • coming up with new designs that are interesting and haven't been done before!
Soon I'm off to Manchester for a rehearsal at the BBC for tomorrow's concert. I've sung with the Leeds Festival Chorus for 10 years and tomorrow we're singing the strange and beautiful Symphony of Psalms by Stravinsky as well as Sécheresses and Litanies à la Vierge Noire by Poulenc, in Leeds Town Hall. Its all with the BBC Philharmonic (hence the Manchester rehearsal tonight) and will be quite a spectacular concert. I am in the semi-chorus for the Litanies, which means only a few of us singing some sections. With a BBC microphone shoved in your face this is quite a scary prospect!

Current listening: Here's the tender coming by The Unthanks

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